Father Elijah is the only book I reread on an almost annual basis, and I do not often read fiction.
The story contains several stories in various settings; wartime Europe, post-war Israel, and Rome as well as some minor settings are present. The areas are beautifully and accurately described.
Characters are many and very well-developed. One was hard-pressed at times to recall that this is, in fact, fiction and not a work of prophecy, especially given event that have actually happened since the writing of this book. Despite the number of characters, there is no difficulty in keeping the stories straight.
Roman Catholicism is the thread that ties all of the characters and locations together. The Church is presented accurately and with love. The Vatican itself is described accurately and in some detail.
This is a book of substance. It is sumptuous in its vocabulary and in the mental images that are developed. Its discussion of history and the Church confront both the light and the darkness that can be encountered in either. Good and Evil are both on display and treated with the mind of the Church.
A friend to whom I'd lent this book said it was the first book he'd ever finished and then immediately turned over to start it again.
On a practical note, the hardcover edition which I own has lasted well through the repeated readings and lending.
The end of the book is satisfying, but with an unfinished feel. I eagerly await a sequel.
I wrote this review of Father Elijah for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.
Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.